I. Zeelander’s Latest Video Review
I have a lot to share with you all today, about yachting things both big and small. But the most exciting by far is the the premier of a really impressive video review of our [soon to arrive] Zeelander 55.
Last fall’s video review of our Zeelander 72 has become (by far) the most viewed Zeelander video on the web (you’ll find it at the end of this report). But it will be getting a run for its money with this latest Zeelander 55 review. If you watch closely you’ll get a very strong feel for her handling and responsiveness. I guarantee a quality viewing experience here:
You’ll find more about her pricing and availability later in this posting.
II. Welcome to Z.U.
I’m delighted to welcome you here to Zeelander University. The story begins with some young people: Two young friends of mine are finishing up their advanced degrees in New York (in law for him, an MBA for her) and of course both have been shifted entirely to online classes. They tell me that from a learning perspective they don’t feel particularly shortchanged. But being young, single and ready to mingle, they report feeling extremely shortchanged, socially.
Their both winners, and they’ll be fine. I’m impressed by their flexibility and dedication under difficult conditions, and they’ve inspired me to launch this new initiative – Your online MZY degree – A Master’s degree in Zeelander Yachts!
For those of you who find yourselves homebound (yachtbound?) I invite you join me here on The Fog Warning for the first in a 12-part series in advanced Zeelander ownership. For each class, I’ll select a single item from their intelligently designed options list, and do my best to relate it to your real-world yachting needs.
As always at The Fog Warning, these discussions will touch securely on yachting safety, but you can also expect wide ranging discussion of yachting ergonomics, aesthetics, and just plain fun. I’ll try to not make it too geeky, but then again, it is an advanced degree….
You can expect discussions springing off various Zeelander’s options like these:
- Stabilization technologies – What technology works best, and when?
- Navigation electronics – Does Radar/Chart overlay really work?
- Engine choices – What is your actual cost per extra knot?
- Dynamic positioning – What are the hidden dangers?
- Broadband vs. onboard WiFi systems – Cheaper Netflix?
- Tender choices – All of them!
I am sure that by the time we get through both this crisis and this course (and we find ourselves back on the water with friends and families) you’ll find there isn’t much you won’t know about what Zeelander can do for you. Everything, that is, except what you’ll learn on sea trials of these fine yachts, which I’m quite happy to schedule for you.
So pull up a chair, grab a hot cup of coffee….
….and let’s get to it!
III. Mater’s Degree Lesson #1 – All you ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about Night Vision
I know a skilled captain, one with many more sea miles under his keel than mine, who’s philosophy on yachting at night is simple:
Just don’t do it!
I get that, I really do. But it’s a little like saying don’t boat in fog. Great in theory…
I come to nighttime operations from a different perspective, for two reasons. First, I’m a sailor. At 6 or 7 knots top speed, you never have the luxury of completely avoiding nighttime sailing. My trawler, for that matter, tops out at a blistering 11 knots (downhill) so that luxury doesn’t apply here either. Sometimes, despite the best plans and intentions, you find yourself getting home after dark.
Second, my passion in life (beyond Zeelander’s, of course) is fly-fishing. The whole River-Runs-Through-It thing. But over the years I’ve spent more time fly fishing oceans than rivers. I live in the Hamptons, and up here that means fly fishing for striped bass from a flats boat at 3am. Because, as children of all ages know…
My own personal go-to aid for hunting monster at night is a FLIR hand held night vision system:
It’s waterproof, has long (rechargeable) battery life, and it will show a big bass’ tail breaking the surface from 35 yards away. I can only cast 30 yards, of course, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
The handheld version does have its limitations, as I belatedly learned three years ago. I was running a Hinckley jet boat from lower Manhattan to Seawanakha Club in Oyster Bay. That’s about a 25 mile run, and after a [too] great dockside dinner I didn’t head east until just after sunset. She was radar equipped, of course, and my SOP for nighttime operations over open water is 15 knots, so all in all, it was no big deal.
A Short Editorial Digression
No big deal, I might add, except that in my experience jet boats hate going just 15 knots. The shallow draft advantages of jet drives are well known. Their disadvantages? Well, for one, their power curve is quite narrow – They like going five knots, and they love going thirty knots. But in between? They tend to drag and lurch a bit, a semi-stagger that announces to the world they’d really just rather get up and go. Like keeping an eye on my dog Trout around chewables,
it can be a little …. wearing. Trout and I find the power curve of IPS boats to be both wider and more predicable.
Anyway, as many of you know, the mooring field at Seawanaka is very crowded in summertime, and finding your assigned mooring ball at night can be tough.
I pulled from my trusty FLIR out, but found it completely useless. It took a few minutes for me to figure out why – its’ heat sensing technology doesn’t work through a windshield (or even Isinglass, I later learned). In the end, I stood on the pilot seat, head and scope poking up through overhead hatch, and eventually found the right mooring. But I wasn’t thrilled with the work-around.
On a Zeelander, of course, my handheld would have worked just fine, operating this fine yacht fully from her rear (outdoor) docking station:
Even better, of course, would have been using FLIR’s big screen displays. On the Zeelander option lists, it runs through the Garmin Glass Bridge system display, in what I find to be a completely seamless integration.
It costs roughly $30,000, and I find it worth every penny. Handhelds are fine for small boats, but I highly recommend an integrated FLIR system for big yachts.
An aside to my loyal readers: For a full options list on both the Zeelander 55 and 72, just launch a flare and I’ll get it right to you.
Here’s what the integrated units do that handhelds don’t:
- Much greater range – a couple of miles, vs. just 50 yards.
- A built-in Wi-Fi connection, transmitting the FLIR screen from your helm to your phone or tablet. Terrific for dockside security, even if you’re belly up to the bar.
- A wwo lens systems – one for low light (an enhanced video camera, essentially) and one for thermal, heat sensing displays. For the latter, even the heat caused by the friction of a boat’s hull as it moves through the water makes her wake visible.
- Because they are built primarily for naval use, their lenses are heated, allowing full use in sub-freezing conditions.
- They have a remarkable 2-axis gyro-stabilization feature.
All in all, this is why someone (not me) once said:
“If you want to use a tougher, better-performing FLIR, you’ll have to join the Special Forces.”
I certainly welcome you to apply for the Special Forces. For myself, I’d just settle for a FLIR-equipped Zeelander!
IV. Your Zeelander construction report
Your next available Zeelander 55 (#7 in her run) is about six weeks away from her first splash. Here you can find this week’s walkthrough of her latest status:
For how we have chosen to option #7 out for you, just launch a flare and I will send you her complete details and pricing.
And, your next available Zeelander 72 (#4 in her run) is getting closer and closer to her end-of-year delivery. Here is the latest shot of Z72 #2 getting unloaded:
Again, feel free to let me know if you’d like to understand exactly how we optioned her out (and why) with full pricing.
And, as I’m sure you’ve anticipated, here’s your impressive (12 minute!) video review of the Z72 I mentioned up front:
V. Virus Supplies from the boat locker
Last week I went to check on Gypsy, my Island Gypsy 40 trawler. She’s shrink-wrapped and on the hard in a closed marina in the Hamptons right now. But I wanted to prepare my season-opening checklist, and I really needed to get out of the house. Poking around in my darkest locker, what did I find among my fiberglass supplies but half a box of disposable gloves, and four N95 ventilator masks! So, if your yard is isolated, and you are as bored as I am, it may be worth your while to dig around in your bilges to see what you can find.
Well, the class bell just sounded. But fear not, lesson #2 is in your near future. Between now and then, I’m here for whatever you need. Meanwhile, take care, stay safe, and launch a flare if you have the luxury of boredom in these trying times.
Big Wave Dave (and Trout)